English | Dzongkha Monday, August 20, 2018

PCAL uses new technology to bring down dust pollution

Sonam Phuntsho, Samtse
Jan 23, 2017

For decades, people living near Penden Cement Authority Limited (PCAL) in Gomtu complained of dust pollution and its hazard to their health.

The Cement Authority has now improved its dust control technology, which has helped reduce pollution significantly.

The first and oldest cement plant, PCAL in Gomtu started production in 1981.

It contributed to the socio-economic and industrial development in the country.

However, it did come with a cost.

People, who have lived around the industry for more than two decades, shared the ugly truth of living with dust pollution.

“There was dust everywhere, in our homes, on our meals, and in our water. Our water used to smell like cement. Our vehicles used to be covered in dust,” said a resident of Gomtu, Tshering Dema.

According to another resident, Kencho Dema, who has lived in Gomtu for the past 20 years, the pollution mostly affected their children.

“It was mostly children who fell sick. They would fall ill about four to five times a month,” she said.

She said adults suffered hair loss.

The records maintained with Gomtu Hospital in December last year shows, 23 pneumonia registered cases. There were also cases of acute respiratory and fungal infections.

Research associates these illnesses with dust pollution

“I have been working here for six months and I have come across a lot of OPD cases, especially among children,” said a district medical officer with Gomtu Hospital, Sonam Youden.

In absence of proper health data with the hospital, it was difficult to verify independently, if diseases associated with dust pollution have in fact increased or decreased over the years.

Last year, PCAL spent Nu 20 M for a Hot Electrostatic Precipitator, a dust separation and control equipment.

A Senior Manager of Environment and Safety with PCAL, Sonam Tshering Tamang said they have 30 dust controlling equipment installed in their plant.

He also said they spend Nu 1 M as an electricity bill every month just for the pollution control equipment.

“We have a good environment cell with good set of labourers dedicated towards cleaning the surrounding environment.”

The environment cell constantly monitors air quality in the surrounding area.

A strict regulation against emissions has also spurred the demand for new and improved technology that PCAL has adopted.

The investments have clearly improved the lives today.

“As compared to a few years ago, the pollution has come down a bit,” said a resident in Gomtu, Tshering Lhamo.

Beside technology, the PCAL has also invested in other areas like sprinkle trucks which help control dust.



1 Comment for “PCAL uses new technology to bring down dust pollution”

  1. Yeshey Dorji

    Mr. Sonam Tshering Tamang is just trying to protect the company’s name by boldly saying that they have got enough dust control equipment and the man power.Actually on reality, thints are completely opposite to what he has said. The continuous release of dust is still like that and, in particular, I have heard that machine operators are intentionally releasing the dust by being careless while dumping the raw materials in the crushing unit. When it ones to sprinkling water;it is done only within their plant area and the market area. Places like school and hospitals are never sprinkled water.Most students suffer from common cold and it is obvious that it is actually caused by the health hazardous cement-contained dust.

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